At a primary school in a middle-class neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, the students’ parents play an outsize role.
Gasoline shortages have collapsed public transportation, making it hard for teachers to get to work. Others skip class to scrounge for food and medicine, both of which are in short supply in Venezuela. Due to low salaries, some teachers have quit.
That’s why Karen Benini, the mother of a sixth-grader, often steps in to substitute even though she lacks a teacher’s certificate.
“I’m not a teacher. I never studied to be a teacher. I’m a graphic designer,” says Benini, 41, who volunteers two to three days per week.
Amid Venezuela’s catastrophic economic meltdown, education experts say that it’s getting much harder for children to get a good grasp of history, geography and their ABCs.
School staff are resigning in droves. Legions of students and teachers are among the 4 million Venezuelans who have fled the country in recent years. Those still going to school in the country often find that classes have been canceled due to power outages, water shortages and other breakdowns.